"To live doesn't mean you're alive"
- Nicki Minaj
In every sense of that phrase, I died on November 29th, 2008. But sometime in December 2009, over a year after my stroke, I finally felt, quite simply, alive. Even though, it was only for a few moments, it felt so real to feel something other than powerless and useless. But a lot had happened in a year to lead up to that feeling. So, ever since the first day of my stroke, I had let the nurses get me up out of bed, and I did whatever my therapists wanted me to do. Though I was broken inside and out, I still did all I could to work hard. Some nurses and Doctors were destroying every hope I had that I would get better, but my family and other doctors were adamantly telling me I was going to be fine. Though I was utterly confused and pretty hopeless, I knew deep down there was a small chance my family would be right and everything would slowly come back. So, through blood, sweat, and many, many, many tears, I fought every day, even when I left the hospital, I didn't skip a beat in my therapy. I started physical, occupational, and speech therapy three times a week plus whatever I could do at home. My therapists and I quickly realized this wasn't enough for me, I needed time, creative approaches to therapy, and to strengthen each of my muscles before hoping any of them would be of any use. So my doctor mentioned that maybe I should look into another place called Race To Walk. Now, the name itself brought hope and excitement to my eyes, but I didn't want to get my hopes up, only to be disappointed for the one millionth time in the past year. So I started working out at Race To Walk twice a week without any expectations. Within the first few moments, I noticed the dedication of the owner and trainers there, the amazing equipment and machines that filled the place, the creative and new ideas that the trainers had, the hope and positive attitude of all the trainers and clients that seemed to seep into every corner and engulfed me completely. And finally, I noticed that little feeling inside me like the sun was finally rising out of every inch of my body that had only seen darkness for the last twelve months. I had barely been living for the last year, but I didn't even know it until I felt the magic of actually feeling alive. I used to get really angry and really upset when people told me I was strong or inspirational or a fighter. I felt like anyone in my situation would have done the same thing. I feel like we all have inside of us that craving to survive and be alive and this awful situation brought that out in me. The other day I heard the quote on a commercial, " I don't need easy, I just need possible." Though it could be just a corny phrase, it really spoke to me. I finally realized what everyone meant that I was strong and an inspiration and yes, that I am a fighter. I realized that for many people when things aren't easy and when things get tough, they crumble. I won't deny that I didn't crumble too, but I fought through it. I knew that getting better was somehow possible even if it was the slightest possibility, it made me fight. I was so hungry for that possibility that I could have my life back. I was so hungry to fight even though things were far from easy. I was so hungry to feel alive. One day, I know I will feel alive all the time, but that will take some time. In the meantime, when the walls of life seem to be crumbling down all around me, I will fight, I will promise you, I will fight.